At the Giacobetti Paul Gallery in DUMBO, Rose DeSiano exhibits a unique photography project that documents war reenactments. The exhibit is called “A War Imagined.” The images are presented on large tapestries, some digitally altered, and if you weren't informed, you'd believe they were taken years ago in an actual battlefield; there are guns, planes, explosions, trenches, the whole nine yards.
I was curious about how and why DeSiano, a Brooklyn native, became involved in war reenactments. She told me that it all started after a faculty photography show where she worked and had displayed landscapes. During the show, a custodial worker invited her to a war reenactment, so, she went. She expected a Civil War theme because they were in Pennsylvania, but when she arrived there were over 2,000 people dressed as Nazis. It took her two years of consideration before deciding that she wanted to photograph these kinds of events. What inspired her to start again was a photograph she took of a veteran watching another veteran in the reenactment; men who had actually served the battle being represented. The print is hung in the gallery and as DeSiano pointed it out she said, “I thought there was something else there.” There is a underlying sense of reality to the reenactments, and you can see the depth and fervor in the images and in the people photographed.
She explained to me that she choose to display the images on tapestries because of the idea of mythology. The events are based loosely on actual happenings, and there is a lot of story-telling and remembering at the reenactments. She felt it was an appropriate way to present the images.
The show runs until November 2nd, 2013, located at 111 Front Street suite 220.
Text and photos by Carlos Fonts